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Old 08-30-2010, 03:56 PM   #1
Jul 2010
Santa Cruz
Posts: 971
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Howdy all. I realize that tone does not translate well online, so let it be known, I am not trying to seem like a snob or a jerk. This is an honest curiousity so I can understand other people's meads.

After making my own mead (lightly spiced, and apparently a bit dry compared to others), I have had a real hard time finding other meads I enjoy drinking. Most tend to taste like watered down honey, with no other characteristics or anything going for it. As my wife put it, they taste "uninspired." They tend to be sickeningly sweet as well.

I have the feeling I am running into new brewers. Perhaps if they have been tasting other new brewer's meads, this single-note profile may be what they believe mead should be like. Other than the type of honey and the level of sweetness, I have a hard time discerning one mead from the other.

Yes, I do find ones that are delightful, but they seem to be uncommon.

So, my question is, am I most likely correct in assuming that these are beginner meads, or is this actually what the majority of people prefer for their meads to taste like?

Again, not meaning to be a snob, curious if the simple honey with standard yeast is what most meads consist of and are preferred, or if this is most likely just undeveloped recipes.

Thanks for any input!

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Old 08-30-2010, 04:20 PM   #2
Jan 2010
Posts: 1,034
Liked 16 Times on 16 Posts

There are many meads that are just plain bad. (I still make one once in a while)
There are more meads that are mediocre. (I make some of these too)
There are a few meads that are good.
There are rare meads that are great.
A handful of meads are exquisite.

-Status as a beginner accounts for some.
-Quality of honey used is a big factor in others.
-Lack of proper aging is another big issue; I've hardly ever had one that I really liked before 18 months.
-Shooting for high alcohol hampers many (alcohol masks other aromas and flavors).
-I think the fact that really good commercial examples have been limited in the past also contributes to the problem.

With all that said, taste is certainly a matter of personal preference so someone else may find they like meads entirely different from the ones I enjoy most. It is one of life's blessings that we don't all want the exact same things.

Still, if you want to get a taste of some truly great meads, plan to attend the Mazer Cup International in Boulder in the Spring.

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Old 08-30-2010, 05:02 PM   #3
Jul 2010
Santa Cruz
Posts: 971
Liked 13 Times on 13 Posts

Thanks for the input and thoughts!

Your points make some sense. The honey I get is from the local apiary, and is very good quality. Also, the mead I have has aged about 2 years, and I actually racked it after one year to get it clarified. most folks probably use commercial honey (hard to get to an apiary in the city), and when I hear "I just made this batch" I should interpret that as "This has not aged a bit." I guess if you are around folks who drink and enjoy mead (I do stuff with the SCA, and it is very common there), it does not tend to last long enough to age.

As far as commercial examples go, I did a wine tasting yesterday and the 2 meads they had were awful- one tasted just of low quality honey and too sweet, the other was like flat bad champagne with a honey note.

One of the reasons I was concerned I wasn't "getting it" is because I hear either the brewer or a friend comment about how good this mead is, yet I don't enjoy it one bit.

Mead Competition.... tempting, but a bit far for me to travel. Curses!

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Old 08-30-2010, 10:51 PM   #4
malkore's Avatar
Jun 2007
Posts: 6,922
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I'd say there's more diversity in meads than beer IS an older beverage after all.

Could be newbie mazers...maybe they won't spend money on decent honey...

I know the only commercial meads I had sucked big time (none were Redstone, which appears to be the only decent commercial meadery)
Primary: English Mild
On tap: Pale Ale, Lancelot's Wheat, English Brown Ale, Steam Beer, HoovNuts IPA
Bottled: MOAM, Braggot, Raspberry Melomel, Merlot, Apfelwein, Pyment, Sweet mead, Cabernet
Gal in 2009: 27, Gal in 2010: 34, Gal in 2011: 13, Gal in 2012: 10

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Old 09-05-2010, 04:14 PM   #5
Oct 2009
Posts: 391
Liked 7 Times on 6 Posts

Without trying to sound snobby myself.....

I think it is characteristic of many "Home Brews" -- not just Meads...

I have had far too much "Home Made Wine" that tasted like thick, Yeasty Grape juice.... Sure, you get lots of Vitamin B12 supplement this way.. but Come On... Let it at least stop primary fermentation before you serve it!

And Beer.... How much Home Brew Beer have you had that tasted either Moldy, Watery, or like Turpentine/Pine sap.... (No, Beer isn't made by fermenting a barrel of Hops with a tablespoon of Malted Barley extract for character... They are a flavoring and preservative...)

Yes... Most of the Mead I have had tasted either like Lighter Fluid, Sweet lighter fluid, or watery honey....

But... It's crazy -- If it is Sweet and Alcoholic -- people will LOVE It! Not sure why... but they will -- even if it tastes like sweet gasoline or Sweet, thick, syrupy Yeasty gasoline, or sweet, watery gasoline....

But there are people who "Get it" -- they use high quality ingredients, pay attention to sanitation, proper recipes, and then they even age it before serving it.... and what they make comes out *Awesome*... Better than store bought -- because they don't have to meet some Store Shelf price point that limits the value of ingredients they put into the bottle.... but it's worth it...



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